Wednesday October 03, 2012 | 03:56 PM

In a conference call with pastors today, conservative political consultant Frank Schubert called Maine's vote on gay marriage "very critical" because if it passes here, gay activists in other states will go directly to voters.

"For the first time in history, gay activists have gone to the ballot themselves," he said, according to the audio of the call posted on Good As You, a gay website. "If they are successful, this will open up a whole new front in the marriage battle nationally. It's a very critical fight in Maine."

Schubert talked with pastors in the four states where votes on gay marriage will take place Nov. 6. In Maryland and Washington, voters will decide whether to uphold gay marriage laws passed by their legislatures and signed into law by their Democratic governors.

And in Minnesota, Schubert said it took 10 years to get a "marriage protection amendment" -- a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman -- on the ballot.

Carroll Conley of Protect Marriage Maine gave a quick overview of the issue here and said he's concerned that if gay marriage passes, it could encourage the Supreme Court to look favorably on it when it considers two cases next year. He also said he was "encouraged here in Maine" because pastors are giving sermons on marriage and have a lot of influence in small towns.

The hour-long teleconference also includes comments from moderator Jim Garlow, a San Diego pastor who was involved in the Prop 8 vote in California. He gives a biblical perspective for opposition to gay marriage. His comments start around the 34 minute mark.

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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
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Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
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Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
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Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
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Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
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Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
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